Museum Research in the 21st Century

27 June 2016

The Museum Island in Berlin (Germany) is storing a collection with over one million archaeological objects covering twelve thousand years. This wordwide unique collection is one of mankind’s largest repositories of cultural goods. 

In an extensive project, the Deutsche Zentrum für Digitale Kulturgüter in Museen (German Center for Digital Cultural Goods in Museums, ZEDIKUM) employs the SmartScan to capture archaeological objects with a size up to one meter. The digitized data will be stored and made available to researchers worldwide.

The president of the Stiftung Preussischer Kulturbesitz (Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation) sees positive results after the first months of ZEDIKUM: “This center leads the museum research into the 21st century. We are not only able to capture objects, but to identify them much better. In 3D, we can read cylinder seals or cuneiform scripts a lot better; at the same time, we can define precisely the materiality. Amongst other aspects, this is important for handling objects that might come from unauthorized excavations or illegal trade. Thanks to 3D scanning, you can precisely differentiate between original and fake. At the same time, 3D scanning can be applied in conflict areas like Syria or Iraq, where cultural goods are threatened. And to add another wonderful aspect: Employing this method also allows to expand our merchandising program.”

The director of the Vorderasiatisches Museum of the Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin (Museum of the Ancient Near East of the National Museums in Berlin) and project manager Markus Hilgert adds: “By creating and processing 3D object data, we want to set a new basis for the research practice with archaeological objects, particularly in museums. We do not aim only at the 3D digital object documentation, but also at the development of innovative instruments of an object-based digital research of cultural goods. Our museum visitors will profit from these innovations and soon will experience the ancient environments on a digitally supported scenery.”

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